Win by Chiefs would put final in sight

A win would put the final in reach for the Chiefs tonight. Photo: Getty Images
A win would put the final in reach for the Chiefs tonight. Photo: Getty Images
It seems hard to believe but the Chiefs can go a long way to making the Super Rugby Aotearoa final with a win at home tonight.

The side takes on the Hurricanes in Hamilton after winning its past four games in succession.

This is the team which had lost 11 games in a row before ending that terrible run with a narrow win over the Hurricanes last month.

Since then, the Chiefs have beaten the Blues, the Highlanders — in extra time — and then the Crusaders, with virtually the last kick of the game, a penalty from Damian McKenzie.

The closeness of the wins, off the back of a 11-game losing streak, just shows the fine margins at the top level.

A bounce of the ball may go against you or for you and that can often be the game.

The Chiefs have been working hard all season and with a bit more accuracy in recent weeks the success has come their way.

The side has made two changes.

Damian McKenzie has been moved to fullback after he played at first five-eighth last week and former Highlander Bryn Gatland gets the start at first five-eighth.

The Chiefs have also lost No8 Luke Jacobson to concussion.

He has been replaced by Pita Gus Sowakula.

Lachlan Boshier, who came back and impressed last week after missing out earlier in the season because of a calf injury, will start on the openside flank.

It has not been a great season for the Hurricanes, who have won just once all season, when Jordie Barrett scored 30 points against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

The side has lacked discipline and gone to sleep in games but has not been far away.

It will be without Ardie Savea tonight and Dane Coles will captain the side.

If the Chiefs do come away with the victory, and claim a bonus point, and the Blues go down to the Crusaders on Sunday, the Hamilton-based side will be six points clear of the Blues with just one game to go.

Chiefs v Hurricanes

Hamilton, 7.05pm

Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Jonah Lowe, Anton Lienert-Brown, Alex Nankivell, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Bryn Gatland, Brad Weber (c), Pita Gus Sowakula, Lachlan Boshier, Mitchell Brown, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Tupou Vaa’i, Angus Ta’avao, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Aidan Ross. Reserves: Nathan Harris, Ollie Norris, Sione Mafileo, Samipeni Finau, Kaylum Boshier, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Rameka Poihipi, Chase Tiatia.

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Wes Goosen, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Ngani Laumape, Salesi Rayasi, Ruben Love, Luke Campbell; Devan Flanders, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep, Scott Scrafton, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, Dane Coles (c), Xavier Numia. Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Vaea Fifita, Brayden Iose, Cam Roigard, Billy Proctor.

Referee: Paul Williams

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